A list from Glamour Magazine in 1997, printed below, became an email forward and early internet meme most often titled “Maya Angelou’s Best Poem.” Except Maya Angelou had nothing to do with it. It was written by this woman, Pamela Redmond Satran.
The list has remained a phenomenon, and so the editors of Glamour Magazine have turned it into a book, featuring advice essays from many famous women, such as Katie Couric, Taylor Swift, and Portia de Rossi. It releases today.
Having turned thirty recently, I can tell you, it really is a milestone. And in a good way.
By 30, you should have …
1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.
2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.*
*Except, why does advice from fashion-y mags always involve ladies buying something slightly superficial?
3. Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.
4. A purse, a suitcase, and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.*
5. A youth you’re content to move beyond.
6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.
7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age — and some money set aside to help fund it.
8. An email address, a voice mailbox, and a bank account — all of which nobody has access to but you.
9. A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded.
10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.
11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra.
12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.*
13. The belief that you deserve it.*
14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.
15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all those other facets of life that do get better.
By 30, you should know …
1. How to fall in love without losing yourself.
2. How you feel about having kids.
3. How to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.
4. When to try harder and when to walk away.
5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.
6. The names of the secretary of state, your great-grandmothers, and the best tailor in town.*
7. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.
8. Where to go — be it your best friend’s kitchen table or a yoga mat — when your soul needs soothing.
9. That you can’t change the length of your legs, the width of your hips, or the nature of your parents.
10. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over.
11. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.
12. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs, or not flossing for very long.*
*Ask me how many hours I’ve spent in a dentist’s office in the past four days. Brush three times a day you guys!
13. Who you can trust, who you can’t, and why you shouldn’t take it personally.
14. Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.
15. Why they say life begins at 30.
Alison Steedman is the editor at Dating & Hookup. She lives in Los Angeles with her boyfriend and their histrionic cat, Charles Dickens, where she still carries on a nostalgic and long-distance love affair with her 20's in Brooklyn, NY. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @yosteedman, and you can also send her your writing at [email protected], both of which make her very happy.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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